Let’s face it, marketing is not our strong suits as physical therapists. They don’t teach many marketing skills and tactics in school, at least they didn’t 10 years ago! A lot of the time it comes down to trial and error, and that can cost you countless hours of time and money. So why not take advantage of other clinic owners trial and error?!
In the past 10 years of being a physical therapist and private practice owner a lot has changed in the way of social media and marketing. A lot has also changed in the way health care is provided. When I started practicing, a lot of time, energy, and money was spent on trying to gain respect (and referrals) directly from doctors. Wining and dining them and their staff got expensive fast and honestly didn’t yield the kind of results we were looking for anyhow.
When health care began to change, prospective patients become more in tune with their care and started to become more proactive about the selections they made and the providers that they saw. It became more common for patients referred to therapy to search online or ask friends who they recommend. They became less likely to just go wherever the doctor stated (although to some extent this does still happen). Having a good online presence has become more important now than ever.
If you don’t have a website by now, then you’re either so closely tied to your close-knit community with the majority of your referrals coming from friends or family, or you’re on the verge of closing your doors. The same goes for Facebook, Twitter and other community online networks. It’s incredibly easy to set up an account; do it now!
Using social media is both a science and an art. Having a good following, 5 star reviews, and engaging posts is what every clinic should try to maintain. You can pay for Facebook “likes” or people that will see your content. You can pay for “ads” that drive people to your Facebook page or website. But you don’t really need to pay for much if you’re really good at creating likable content and followers.
Knowing the best times to post for particular topics and audiences is key. How do we know when this is? Sometimes trial and error in this area isn’t super time consuming, so in your particular niche of physical therapy this might be a good idea to start out with. If you’re established and still aren’t sure, so a little bit of market research. When do certain age groups and demographics look at their Facebook accounts? The working class has higher engagement at lunchtime and after work hours; post then. The retired community may not look at Facebook much at all, or if they do it may be mid morning after breakfast that is the most popular. This is great to know, but if you aren’t posting the right content, you won’t be successful in converting these folks into patients.
So what topics tend to be more engaging? Articles are good and informative, but they apply to very little percentage of the people that see them on social media. Videos that are less than 60 seconds usually do really well, especially if the person/people in the video are really engaging. Try Facebook live; this feature is usually pushed out to more viewers at a time so your odds of engagement is pretty high. Create and join different, local Facebook or LinkedIn groups that you may want to target for your services. These groups tend to get a ton of interaction.
Get reviews! Everyone looks at reviews; whether you’re buying something on Amazon or looking for a physical therapist. People trust the opinions of others. Encourage your current patients to review you on Google or Facebook to add more credibility to the services you provide.
BEWARE: If you aren’t having your team ask and track where each new patient comes from, you will have no idea if your efforts are working or not. So make sure that you have a good way of tracking your referral data and being able to use it to your advantage. If you need help in this area, click here for more assistance.